Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Birthday portrait

Our week on the island is passing too quickly! I thought I would show you this recent portrait commission now that it has been revealed as a birthday present for the children's father. The family wanted an informal portrait capturing how the children are at this point in their lives, hence they are sitting doing their homework as they typically do after school.
I had only an hour at their house and managed to get everything down on canvas that you can see on the second image in that time. It was pretty difficult as the children were doing a great job of acting naturally- ie moving around, but I'm pleased with how it went and that the pet cat also squeezed on!
When this stage was dry I worked on adding the colour in the studio. Please don't think I've made a mistake with those jeans- they were actually a very bright turquoise/cyan colour- not denim!
Nina is a very keen artist and so I carefully copied one of her actual lovely drawings on the paper she was working on.
I'm very pleased to hear the whole family is happy with it.

There's a photo of me trying to capture the rapidly changing sky at the beach last night! Always movement and challenges!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Breezy day on Bréhat

We are back on the island in France, and it's suitably autumnal! Painted this on Guerzido beach this afternoon. The clouds were fast moving and the sea was choppy but the beach itself was sheltered. I was perched on a rock with my 8" x 10" pochade box. Really pleased I managed to get Tim and Maisie in, walking over the rocks, as I'm planning to get more figures into my landscape work thereby combining my two major painting passions!
Nicest of all we put a big casserole in the oven before we left so I'm looking forward to a delicious 'no cook' dinner tonight!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Looking over Grantham

Looking over Grantham from Belmont tower

A misty day on Friday found me climbing up to Belmont tower again to paint the panorama looking over to Grantham. Interestingly, I got absolutely covered in tiny spiders while painting, which is a new one on me! When I got back to the car I had to flick a further dozen off the easel. Anyway, this was the best of two paintings I did on the day.
I've been busy framing six 'hopefuls' for the Royal Institute of Oil Painters exhibition. I had a varnishing disaster, when an area of one of the paintings I was going to enter (Galley hill allotments) began to melt away as I applied the retouching varnish, even though it's at least four weeks since it was painted and I thought it was touch dry. So I had to bring on a substitute, and get hold of a frame with only minutes to spare. Now all six are signed, varnished, photographed, framed, labelled and willing to try their best for me with the selection committee. All will be out of my hands after tomorrow.
I've gone through the trough of despair 'none of them are good enough!' and am now in the resigned, calm stage 'I've done my best, there's nothing more I can do'.
Except start work on next year's entries of course...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tuesday, London

Forgive me for not blogging lately, we currently have no Internet at home. After three days I've finally found time to make a lengthy phone call to technical support and at the end of it was told... there is a fault. Oh. Now I need an engineer to visit apparently.
I thought in the meantime I'd send you a pic from my friend's sofa!
Painted this in London on Tuesday morning, 8" x 10".
Then had a great time at the Royal Society of Marine Artists preview. Gorgeous exhibition and lovely chatting to artist friends. Would have been fab if one of my paintings had made it into the exhibition of course - I'll give it another go next year!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gracie by the washing line

Had a lovely weekend at Brant Broughton art fair, saw lots of familiar and new faces, and lots of money was raised for Macmillan cancer support.
I also finally finished this painting which I started back at the Patchings festival in June! It's oil on linen canvas, 18" x 15".
It's my goddaughter Gracie again, painted from photos taken in our garden on Bréhat almost exactly two years ago. Her hair has grown a lot longer since then! So many people who have watched me paint this have asked who the little boy is!
Tomorrow I'll be in London again for the Royal Society of Marine Artists preview, and hoping to do a spot of painting there in the morning.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Belmont tower

Painting at Belmont tower today

Towards Grantham from Belmont tower

I've not been deliberately ignoring you honestly! I've been busy since Sunday with... portrait commission, framing, wrapping and posting paintings, getting mdf panels cut and prepping them for paintings, preparing for workshops and doing a demo yesterday at Bingham art group. 
Today was my first day out painting. There are fantastic views from Belmont tower on the National Trust Belton House estate. It was a gorgeous bright morning but very windy up there! I had a couple of intrepid companions join me which was lovely, and even a blog subscriber I'd never met before came by to say hello which was really nice!
Here's a picture of the tower itself, which was right behind me (you can see my easel looking tiny on the ground!).

Belmont tower

Also received the November issue of The Artist magazine, which has my article on Williamsburg oil paints in it, so that was nice to see!

Quick reminder to those in my area - I'll be at Brant Broughton art event this Saturday and Sunday, 10.30 am until 4.30 pm. Hope to see some of you there!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Whisby nature park

Had a good day today painting with some other members of Lincolnshire Artists Society at Whisby nature park. Chatting to people all day painting on the Boardwalk behind the cafe and visitor centre and I managed to get two done! This morning the one with the strange white things in the foreground (which seem to be two silver birch trees chopped in half), and then after lunch I looked down into the water more. I was very pleased with that duck! Sadly the blue shows up wrong on the photo! The blue at the bottom middle isn't how it looks on my photo - it's more of a subtle violet-blue but my phone can't pick up the violet hue at all!

Friday, October 5, 2012

London painting

Apologies for blurred photography!

I had a great visit to London today! I was lucky to be able to paint with the supremely talented Adebanji Alade, and it was so much fun painting side by side and chatting! Makes a lovely change from painting alone singing along to the limited number of songs on my iPhone!

When we started the sky was clear and blue, the shadows crisp. As usual I thought I would get a few done but didn't! I worked on this little 8" x 10" for maybe three hours. Adebanji was working at the same size, but he was taking a further view than me and looking all the way up the road to Pall Mall at the top. (That was going to be my second painting!)
By the time we finished I was looking at a totally different scene! The sky was black, the front of the big building was darker than the side - you name it! All change!

Here's Adebanji hard at work with his ever-appreciative audience! 

I had my back to an enormous column so people had to be fairly cheeky to come and see mine!
I will get a better photo of my painting to show you, and I feel I'd like to do a studio piece based on it. I also have a sketch and a couple of photos to support it.
Hope you have a good weekend :-)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hook head - horizon

Hook head
Oils on canvas 12" x 16"

I've been on the computer for about 24 hours (not quite but feels like it!) designing a 'self-publish' book of my latest paintings. I'm hugely excited about it and I think it's going to look great. It's 100 pages long and I've included all my favourite paintings from 2012 so far, plus it's absolutely littered with inspirational quotes about painting and life! I can't share details of it with you yet until I've received an actual physical copy to hold in my hands and see that it's as fantastic as I hope it will be!

I'm also working on two current portrait commissions so I can't show you pictures of those until completed.
I can show you this however! I painted Hook Head back in summer in Ireland with my new friend Lori Putnam painting nearby.
I was really happy with it as it was my best painting of the week but one thing niggled me - the wonky horizon line! Today I finally got around to fixing it, I don't know how hard I thought it was going to be exactly but it took me all of five minutes to sort it!

Before - with wobbly horizon! I'm using masking tape to make a straight edge

I'm off to London again tomorrow, handing in two paintings that have been pre-selected for the New English Art Club (do not hold your breath - I'm not!), and hopefully will be meeting with someone special...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Towards Bohemia prom

Towards Bohemia promenade
Oils 10" x 12"
This is the quick one from yesterday which was much more successful! I was attracted to that piece of sunlit beach in the distance and think I managed to capture the fleeting effect quite well. Next time I drive there I think I will walk past the beach huts and head straight down to the beach...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Struggles at the seaside!

It was strange because I was really looking forward to this painting session at the seaside. I had planned where to paint because I have a half finished painting and a sketch from the same spot. I wanted to do the same view, a lot larger and add figures.

I can't quite explain how challenging it was, but when I started the sky was dark and a rainbow appeared over to the right, a few brief showers, tremendous wind flapping the canvas about, then some fabulous light on the beach huts with the dark sky behind, then the light was lost, the rainbow gone, then the sky lightened up ... and the beach huts got dark... and so it went, on and on, changing and changing!

It didn't end up very cohesive, and I was painting the beach huts and the posts far too tightly, despite the difficulties of painting a straight line in the wind, and the sky was all bitty. Yep, that about covers it.

So I won't look at it again for a few days and see if I can redeem it or not!

The good news is I then did a very quick one which was much more successful (isn't that always the way? It seems so!) although completed in less than an hour. I'll get a better photo to show you of that one tomorrow.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The gardener

Gardening at Assington Mill
Now you see him, now you don't... see my blog on September 24th for the original, painted en plein air at Assington mill.
I decided to add a figure gardening, so I looked in my sketchbooks for inspiration. I'm not sure if I made the right decision or not, but I know that you have to try these things. I also darkened up the darks and added a few details such as the little fence posts on the right. I am unsure though, it's such a difficult thing to do, transport someone into a painting who wasn't ever there!

Today I took ten paintings over to the Whisby natural world centre, south west of Lincoln. I'm taking part in a month long exhibition there with other Lincolnshire artists, and I'm going to be painting there all day Sunday 7th so come and see me if you're in the area! I will be on or near the boardwalk at the back of the centre overlooking the large lake - I'm not stupid, I know where the coffee is!

I've also been treating myself spending prize money again - I thought this easel lamp with daylight simulation bulb was a great investment for late winter afternoons or even just a dark day.

I'm so excited because I'm going to this place tomorrow - see picture below - and I'm taking a fairly big canvas so I hope it's not too windy!!

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